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Those Godawful Streets of Man by Stephen Bett reviewed

 Today's book of poetry:
Those Godawful Streets of Man: A Book Of Raw Wire In The City.  Stephen Bett.  Blazevox[Books].  Buffalo, New York.  2015.

Stephen Bett is damned sure that none of us is going to get out of this city unscathed.  Those Godawful Streets of Man: A Book Of Raw Wire In The City is a little light when it comes to optimism, this book is a sneer from a mouth full of broken teeth.

Those Godawful Streets of Man (64th St.)

Then there was cousin
Billy (Edinburg)
down the shop
for smokes

Wife & baby daughter
at home for five
minutes

Twenty years later
detective tracked
him in NYC

Heavy-duty
abandonment,
huh

And it's all
about cities
(& borders)

And people really
fucking each
other up

It's cruel as
all get out,
& someone
ought to
die for it

Or lose
heart
(at the
least)

...

In Bett's city someone just played the joker against any chance of a winning hand.  People smear themselves like bloodstains all over their attempts to find love. 

Those that do find love discover just how flawed love can be.  Those Godawful Streets of Man... is an illustrated fall from grace, one gut punch at a time.



___________



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New interviews with Kristina Marie Darling!!

 

There is a lot of great new interviews with Kristina Marie Darling’s collaborative work with John Gallaher, GHOST / LANDSCAPE

 

 

A new interview with Kristina Marie Darling in Writer’s Digest:

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/kristina-marie-darling-poet-interview-2

 

GHOST / LANDSCAPE is reviewed in The Rumpus: 

http://therumpus.net/2016/07/ghostlandscape-by-kristina-marie-darling-and-john-gallaher/

 

And Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher are featured in The Conversant:

http://theconversant.org/?p=10427  

 

Dora Malech included her book The Moon and Other Inventions: Poems After Joseph Cornell, in her essay on the work of Joseph Cornell, in The Kenyon Review:

http://www.kenyonreview.org/2016/07/still-unknown-objects-belong-together-poetry-assemblage/


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Ghost | Landscape by Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher reviewed at Ploughshares

 

ghost landscape mainGhost/Landscape
Kristina Marie Darling & John Gallaher
Blaxevox, February 2016
102 pp; $16

Buy: paperback

In the collaborative poetry collection Ghost/Landscape (Blazevox, 2016) by Kristina Marie Darling and John Gallaher there is no beginning or end. The first poem is “Chapter Two.” So begins traversing a time loop of poems where the reader can really “begin” anywhere. What is a beginning and what is an ending? Is moving forward and looking behind you the same thing? A circle never ends. “Chapter Two,” begins like a bed time story:

“We must have known there was no going back…that morning, before our windows had been broken, you asked about the lock on the door. I realized it was only a matter of time before the alarm sounded, which always seemed out of place in the dead of winter.”  

The reader is a happy prisoner in this manikin-like frieze: feelings are suppressed into the pages of Goethe novel. Timelines, like broken glasses, need to be glued back together. If the reader needs to assemble a puzzle to establish a linear map, one should look to the corners first. In Ghost/Landscape, the edges are gray and decrepit. The backbone seethes.

Darling and Gallaher use color to drip the poems in surprising apathy. In this illusion to the underworld, “Thermopolis as a concept” they paint this canvas:

“The scenery is used to being blamed for such things, red,
beige, and more red with some yellow. And blue and black
and white.

I’m busy looking at everything I’m looking at. It rises and falls as I sit and stand. It’s shadowy or bright or neither, really. Navys and grays. I expect great things from it.

A little jump and it’s leaping. There on the bluffs overlooking
the town I see it leap as I’m looking at it leaping.

If, late in summer, it’s late summer, then it’s late in summer.
That weird feeling of being cheated when the forecast of bad
things happening doesn’t come to pass…”

The outer world is constantly in flux, unforgiving, and ambivalent towards the humans who gaze upon it no matter if the grass is green or covered in snow. There is also an apt correlation: if the outer surroundings are corrected than inner relationships may heal. In the poem “Landscaping,”

“We’re looking out the kitchen window, and we have this opportunity to go back and undo our errors. But where do we start? We mowed poorly around the trees. We didn’t marry well or have pleasant children…”

The landscape reflects a sadness.  There are repeated domestic objects noted throughout the collection: drinking glasses, the phone, a calendar, a television, torn photographs.  The objects reflect how the speakers convey the passing of time: selling them, losing them, realizing something was stolen. The objects may change but our connection to them remain the same. We sell certain objects just to want them again. In another poem in the middle of the collection, also titled “Chapter Two,” 

“Next thing you know, the whole house is a yard sale. Your bed is three feet under other things. Here, there’s still some room between it and where the bureau was, a kind of depression you can lie on…”

The succinct wordplay here illustrates a heavy woe: one can lay down on a bed and make a depression with one’s figure as well as succumb to an emotional albatross.



Read the whole review here

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The Rapture of Eddy Daemon by Daniel Y. Harris Book reviewed at Stride

 




The Rapture of Eddy Daemon, Daniel Y Harris (BlazeVOX)
Eddy Daemon is in thrall to Shake-Speares Sonnets. The subtitle says so. It also says this new book is a posthuman homage to said sonnets. I have no idea why the apostrophe is missing, or how Harris has let the daemon loose within these 14-line texts, but let loose he has, in a wild rollercoaster ride of cut-up, collage, image overload, scientific [dis]information and post-apocalyptic textual dystopia.
Harris' world is a posthuman one of decay, ruin, sensuality, intellectual and sexual abandon. Eddy Daemon, our anti-hero, runs amok through it, never pausing for breath, preferring to pile on the adjectives, the verbs and the images, choosing to live only in confusion. 'He won't be radicalized with selective memory.' Why? Because he appears to remember everything except his source material. Where is Shakespeare in all this? 'Eddy perfects the idea of degraded origin', apparently through 'divine breathing-in' and 'rapture's canon', with 'lust awakened'.
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Little: Novels by Emily Anderson reviewed in Ploughshares Blog

Emily-Cov-lgerLittle: Novels
Emily Anderson
BlazeVOX, August 2015
158 pp; $20

Buy: paperback

The vogue for erasure poems continues, which is good news. Done skillfully, the erasure poem encompasses what Samuel Johnson called “the two most engaging powers of an author: new things are made familiar, and familiar things are made new.” Srikanth Reddy’s Voyager discovers within Kurt Waldheim’s anodyne autobiography the confession that ought to have been there; Ronald Johnson’s RADI OS (the genre’s great progenitor) finds an eerie new visionary melody within the organ music of Paradise Lost.

Emily Anderson’s Little starts from texts that, in some quarters, are as familiar as and perhaps even more beloved than those of Joyce or Milton: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little Housebooks. In our time, in the light of what the United States’ imperial westward drive meant to native peoples and to the environment, the books are vulnerable to several kinds of political critique. I can also attest, however (having discovered the books as an adult, reading the whole series aloud twice, once to each daughter), that they have a plainspoken poetry, a clarity of detail, and a psychological acuity that earn them a spot not far from Huckleberry Finn on the shelf of our compromised national classics.

Read the whole review here 

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